The planned Shenzhen branch of the Chinese University of Hong Kong will enjoy academic freedom, according to vice chancellor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu.
Speaking on the sidelines of a campus groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, Sung said the new university's goal was to bring innovation and new interdisciplinary teaching and research to the Pearl River Delta.
"Students will be taught to think independently," he said.
The 100-hectare campus in Shenzhen's Longgang district, built on land donated by the local authorities, is the biggest joint venture so far between the Sha Tin-based academic institution and Shenzhen University.
It will ultimately accommodate about 11,000 students, both from the mainland and Hong Kong.
Sung said that unlike other mainland universities, where the management was usually jointly run by a Communist Party official and the university head, the new institution would have a head who worked under an executive board. This board will contain an equal number of members from CUHK and Shenzhen University.
However, the head would have the final say on any issues, since he or she would hold the casting vote.
Yesterday, Guangdong's Communist Party secretary Wang Yang , who took part in the groundbreaking ceremony, would not comment when asked about recent concerns over whether further integration between Hong Kong and the mainland would bring problems.
"The co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong is developing in a healthy way," Wang said, before walking away from reporters.
In a collaboration agreement signed between Chinese University and Shenzhen University last July the two institutions' roles were clearly defined.
The Hong Kong university would be responsible for daily management, teaching and research, and faculty recruitment in the new establishment; while the Shenzhen institution would liaise with the Shenzhen municipal government about infrastructure development.
Sung said the agreement also ensured the university would have academic freedom.
Classes offered by the Shenzhen venture will be taught in both Chinese and English, with its first degrees being offered in scientific disciplines, business management and engineering.